Overused and Tired Words

Children looking bored with notebooks in a classroom
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When writing an essay, term paper, or report, you should always try to use words that convey your meaning both vividly and accurately.

Can you just imagine your poor teacher at her desk reading "The book was interesting" a hundred times or more? That can't be good for creating a friendly grading environment!

Skillful writing is not easy; it is a tricky endeavor that involves a fine balance between extremes.

You shouldn't have too much fuss or too much dry fact in a term paper because either can be tiresome to read. One way to develop more interesting writing is to avoid tired or overused words. You'll find that substituting excessively used verbs with more interesting ones can bring a boring paper to life.

You may be surprised at the extent of your own vocabulary, and the fact that you don't use it for your own benefit. You probably know the meanings of many words, but don't employ them in your speech or writing.

Word usage is a good way to insert your personality, and some life, into your writing. Have you ever met someone new and noticed the difference in their use of words, phrases, and mannerisms? Well, your teacher can see that through your writing.

Rather than adding long, outlandish words to make yourself sound smart, use words you know. Find new words you like and that suit your writing style. Anytime you read, think about the words, highlight ones you don’t know, and look them up. This is a great way to beef up your vocabulary and become more conscious of what words you use and how you use them.

Read over the following sentence, for example:

The book was very interesting.

Have you used that sentence in a book report? If so, you may want to explore other ways to convey the same message.

For example:

  • The book covered fascinating information.
  • This work, which was actually one of Mark Twain's first endeavors, was captivating.

Never forget that your teacher reads many, many papers. Always strive to make your paper special and not boring! It's a good idea to make your own paper stand out from the others with effective word use.

To exercise your vocabulary powers, read over the following sentences and try to think of alternate words for each tired word that appears in italics.

The Colocasia is a big plant with lots of leaves.
The author used funny expressions.
The book was supported by many sources.

Tired, Overused, and Boring Words

Some words are specific enough, but they are so overused they are just plain boring. While it would be awkward to avoid these words all the time, you should take care to substitute more interesting words whenever appropriate.

Some tired and overused words:

amazing awesome awfully bad
beautiful big fine good
great happy interesting look
nice quite really said
so very well

Why not try using some of these instead:

absorbing avid bold candid
compelling distinguished dubious empowering
intuitive empowering intuitive irrelevant
motivating novel predictable questionable

hile writing a paper, might you find yourself occasionally using the same words over and over. When you are writing about specific information, it can be difficult to find a variety of words to express a specific idea. If you have trouble, don’t be afraid to utilize a thesaurus. It can be a great way to expand your vocabulary!